NM Legislative Lottery and Opportunity Scholarships
The New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship may pay tuition (up to an undergraduate degree) for students who meet the eligibility criteria listed below. Student’s who qualify for New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship, also qualify for New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship, which pays fees.
Student must be a resident of New Mexico.
Student must have completed high school at a public or accredited private New Mexico high school, graduated from a public or accredited private new Mexico high school or received a high school equivalency credential while maintaining residency in New Mexico.
Student must enroll at a public post-secondary educational institution in New Mexico within sixteen months of graduation or receipt of a high equivalency credential.
Student must enroll in and earn 15 credit hours per semester at a four-year New Mexico public university.
Student must enroll in and earn 12 credit hours per semester at a two- year New Mexico public community college.
Student must maintain a 2.5 or greater cumulative grade point average (GPA) each semester of enrollment.
Students with disabilities may qualify for reduced credit hour requirements and additional semesters of the scholarship.
A flat award based on the type of institution the student attends (Research; Comprehensive; or Community College). NMHED will notify institutions of the award for the upcoming academic year by June 1.
The initial scholarship shall begin with the second semester of enrollment at a public postsecondary educational institution. Thereafter, the scholarship is renewed on a per-semester basis subject to maintaining eligibility. Students must remain consecutively enrolled each fall and spring semester to maintain eligibility for the scholarship. The scholarship may be renewed at a four-year institution until the award recipient has received seven (7) semesters of scholarship awards or until the student graduates with a bachelor’s degree, whichever is sooner. Students attending a community college are eligible for three (3) semesters of scholarship awards. The student should contact their public post-secondary educational institution’s financial aid advisor for eligibility verification if they have met the first semester eligibility requirements listed above.
How to Apply:
Student shall contact their public post-secondary educational institution’s financial aid advisor for eligibility verification (no application needed). NMJC will review eligibility at the end of the student’s qualifying semester and if eligible, the scholarship will be offered for the next major semester. No application is required but students are welcome to contact the Office of Financial Aid at NMJC with any questions they may have.
When to Apply:
Student shall contact their public post-secondary educational institution for eligibility period.
Where to Apply:
Legislative Lottery Scholarship eligibility is determined by the public post-secondary educational institution. Please contact your educational institution for details.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Does my high school GPA impact my eligibility for the Lottery Scholarship? No, the eligibility for this scholarship is determined by college GPA.
Does the Lottery Scholarship cover the entire cost of tuition? The amount of tuition covered by the scholarship will vary by institution. Please contact the institution that you plan to attend to find out what amount of tuition will be covered by this scholarship.
Am I eligible to apply for other types of financial aid if I receive the Lottery Scholarship? Yes, you may be eligible for other financial aid programs. The Financial Aid Division encourages all students to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at http://fafsa.gov/
Does the Lottery Scholarship cover other expenses such as student fees, books, or room and board? No, the Lottery Scholarship applies only to tuition costs.
How soon must a student enroll after completing high school to establish eligibility for the Legislative Lottery Scholarship? To establish eligibility for the scholarship students must enter college within sixteen months after graduating from high school or completing a high school equivalency credential and enroll in twelve credit hours (Full-time) at NMJC.
What are the provisions for students that begin service in the military following completion of high school? Students that enter the military within four months of high school completion may establish eligibility within sixteen months of completion of honorable service or medical discharge.
Can the scholarship be transferred to an out of state institution or private institution in New Mexico? No, the scholarship may only be received at a public post-secondary educational institution within New Mexico.
If a student attends a non-qualifying institution after completing high school will they forfeit eligibility for this program? Yes, to establish eligibility for the Legislative Lottery Scholarship first attendance must be at a qualifying New Mexico public post secondary educational institution.
Please contact the New Mexico Higher Education Department, Financial Aid Division at 1-800-279-9777 or the Office of Financial Aid at NMJC 575-392-5172 or email@example.com.
New Mexico Legislature CLICK HERE!
Students who do not qualify for the Legislative Lottery Scholarship may still qualify for the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship, which may cover tuition and fees (up to an undergraduate degree) for students who meet the eligibility criteria listed below.
· Student must be at least 18;
· Continuing students must be meeting financial aid satisfactory academic progress eligibility;
· Student must be a NM resident (does not have to be a U.S. citizen);
· Student must be enrolled in a 2-year program (or less)-this includes credit bearing certificates of 2 years or less that is in high demand as determined by the NM workforce solutions;
· Enrolled in a minimum of six (6) credit hours but not more than 18, or eligible for a Lottery Scholarship if a new or continuing student. Recent high school graduates must enroll full time. Students who meet eligibility requirements may receive the scholarship in summer if enrolled in 3 credit hours but not more than 9;
· Maintain 2.5 GPA;
· Amount can be equal to tuition and fees when combined with other State aid already awarded; but cannot exceed tuition and fees.
· Scholarship cannot be used to replace other forms of state or tuition/fee specific private aid;
· Student cannot have earned a Bachelor’s degree;
· Eligibility does not extend beyond 90 attempted credit hours at a two year institution or 160 at a four year institution;
· Students enrolled in their graduating semester may enroll in less than six credits and maintain eligibility;
· Student with disabilities may qualify for less credit hours as determined by Kelly Rueda, Director of Admissions/Counselor;
· Student’s not meeting eligibility requirements may appeal if they have exceptional mitigating circumstances that have affected their eligibility; and
· Students are encouraged to submit the FAFSA www.studentaid.gov.
The scholarship is renewed on a per-semester basis subject to maintaining eligibility.
How to Apply:
Student shall contact their public post-secondary educational institution’s financial aid advisor for eligibility verification (no application needed). The Office of Financial Aid will review eligibility at the end of each semester to determine new and continued eligibility for the next semester. Students are welcome to contact the Office of Financial Aid at 575-392-5172 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions regarding their eligibility.
Frequently Asked Questions:
I heard I may qualify to attend college tuition free, but I don’t know where to start. What should I do first?
With the New Mexico Opportunity and Lottery Scholarships, there are options for New Mexico residents of all ages to pursue college and career training tuition-free. After reviewing the eligibility criteria, your first step is to apply to a New Mexico public college and university and enroll in at least six credit hours toward a credit-bearing career training certificate, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree. You should also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible to see if you are eligible to receive federal grants that can help with other college costs, such as books, materials, housing, and transportation.
Do I Qualify for the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship?
If you are an established New Mexico resident & plan to enroll in at least 6 credit hours at a public college or university in NM toward a training certificate, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree, you may qualify.
What does the Opportunity Scholarship pay for?
The Opportunity Scholarship can be used to cover up to 100% of tuition and course-specific fees at any New Mexico public college or university.
I am a Lottery Scholarship student starting my first semester. Can I receive the Opportunity
Scholarship while establishing Lottery eligibility?
Students establishing eligibility for the Lottery Scholarship may have their tuition covered by Bridge Scholarships provided by their school during their qualifying semester. If the Bridge Scholarship does not cover the full cost of tuition, the Opportunity Scholarship may be used to cover any remaining tuition gap. The Opportunity Scholarship can also be used to cover required fees for students receiving the Lottery Scholarship.
Should I still complete my FAFSA if I am receiving the Opportunity Scholarship or
Yes! If you qualify to receive federal aid such as a Pell Grant, you can put this money toward other college costs like books, housing, meal plans, transportation, etc. You can complete the FAFSA www.studentaid.gov.
What if I am not eligible to complete a FAFSA?
Contact your school about their alternative financial aid application to access other scholarships you may also qualify for.
Which colleges and universities can I apply to and receive the Opportunity Scholarship
or the Lottery Scholarship?
There are 29 participating two-year and four-year colleges for this program. You can see a full list by clicking here.
I started college but did not finish. Can I use the Opportunity Scholarship to go
back and finish my degree?
Yes! If you have less than 90 credit hours on your transcript toward an associate degree or less than 160 toward a bachelor’s degree, you may qualify.
I used to receive the Lottery Scholarship but lost it. Could I be eligible for the
If you have not yet finished your degree, you may be eligible if you enroll in at least 6 credit hours and maintain a cumulative 2.5 GPA going forward. In most cases, you will need to wait two years after your last semester receiving the Lottery Scholarship to become eligible for the Opportunity Scholarship.
Please contact the New Mexico Higher Education Department, Financial Aid Division at 1-800-279-9777 or call the Office of Financial Aid at NMJC 575-392-5172 or email@example.com.